Innovation Awards | Events |

Innovation Awards | Events |

e-Consultancy are running an interesting take on awards this year – the focus being upon Innovation in the key areas of digital marketing, rather than achievement per se. This should allow plenty of room to dig underneath the normal approach of “vote for famous big company”. In these awards we can look inside the monoliths that are the leading UK companies by size and reputation and acknowledge some of the many initiatives, experiments and inflexion points that in aggregate can lead to success.

Best of all, one can celebrate initiatives that fail (for good reasons and worthwhile learning) as well as things that otherwise might be under the public radar.

The award categories (below) give plenty of opportunity to enter.

I’m pleased and rather humbled to have been invited to judge (there’s a pretty stellar list of judges – plus me) and I accepted in seconds (before the offer was withdrawn 😉 ). I’m really looking forward to seeing the entries and it’s going to be a privilege to see the nominations.

Entries close on 24 October so don’t delay! Remember too to be generous in nominating the person you think has been most innovative.

The Award categories are:

  • Innovation in Affiliate Marketing
  • Innovation in Email Marketing
  • Innovation in Online Advertising Innovation in Multichannel Marketing Innovation in User Experience Innovation in Social Media and Communities Innovation in SEO/Natural Search
  • Innovation in Paid Search/PPC
  • Innovation in Web Analytics and Optimization
  • Innovation in Online Conversion
  • Innovation in Online Retention
  • Innovation in Online Acquisition
  • Innovation in Digital Marketing and Team Management
    This category will recognise innovative approaches to team management/HR, recruitment and retention strategies and managing significant team growth
  • Most Innovative Person in Digital Marketing
    There’s no fee for entering this additional category, so be generous of spirit: tell us which innovative person you admire and why.

BBC NEWS | Technology | Search site aims to rival Google

BBC NEWS | Technology | Search site aims to rival Google

How lovely. On a hot and humid summer’s day we have someone claiming to take on google at search. Enter Cuil (pronounced “Cool” – how convenient), produced by some ex-Google staffers (although, Google’s now so big that saying “ex-google” is about as meaningful as saying “ex-schoolchild”. Still, I digress. Heat, humidity, etc).

Well, I had a quick play, and it’s certainly pretty and I like the magazine layout (in the same way I like the look of Magnolia, but still use delicious).

Unfortunately, Cuil doesn’t as yet have the skinny on search. Concepts are a neat idea (although if I were in that sort of mood I’d just fire up TouchGraph and use that as a visualisation tool on top of the google index). However, these additional facets aren’t that useful when the 120bn web-pages they’ve indexed seem not to cover the web.

In a rather painful and blunt example, dear reader, I find that I no longer exist!

No ian jindal

Leaving that dent to my ego aside (sob) there were a number of other areas that seemed to be peculiarly skewed or absent.

This shows on the one hand how heavy web users have become habituated to Google’s way of doing things. We amend our search strings for weight, or refine as we learn jargon in a given domain or based upon initial results. I haven’t got the energy to relearn this for a “solution” that’s at best simple ‘different’ and at worst has gaps.

The challenge issued to google also forgets that the big G is no longer ‘just’ a search engine: it’s a behavioural and intelligence linking monster. From the search and click-through activity, from my google documents, notes, custom search engines, google checkout and adword activity, Google is a closed loop system of information, behaviour and commerce.

The two ways to compete imho are to wait until google implodes (in the great history of global giants, or on a 20 year cycle) or be better at something. Clearly, the latter is preferable to the former, but if you’ve deep pockets and are under 40 years old then don’t totally disgregard the first option 😉

I’m no longer enamoured of Google, but in the age of the commercial web they are the benchmark. One way not to compete, I’d suggest, would be to issue a challenge and not deliver.

Heading off to the Mediafutures conference

Just off to the Mediafutures Conference in Ally Pally (reaches for A-Z) and wondering whether there’ll be great broadband/mobile reception there ‘cos we’re under a mast?

Interesting day lined up but here’s a quick heads up that there’s a twitter channel at (predictably):
Twitter / mediafutures

I’m not going to promise an update since Nico’s notes are generally quicker and better than any notes I’ve taken at his events 😉

Media Futures Conference 2008

Nico Macdonald and the BBC have announced The Media Futures Conference, being…

“… a one day exploration of the dynamics and trends shaping the future of media. As well as an opportunity for lively debate, the conference will feature presentations showcasing innovative projects, showing smart thinking in practice and illustrating the scope of what is possible “

No small promise then 😉

The conference is the culmination of a year’s conversation with the BBC by Nico (of, and builds upon the regular series of Innovation Forums (fora?) and the Innovation Reading Circle (as mentioned here previously in my review of Andrew Keen’s book, Cult of the Amateur).

The website – Media Futures Conference 2008 – has information on the agenda and speakers (I’m Chairing a session on provocations).

The tickets have already sold out once so if you’re interested in attending I’d suggest you register promptly (Update: there’s also a “Waiting” list available via the ticketing page).

A view of the future – from 1968.

I’ve also recently seen a list of predictions for the year 2000 – made in 1900 in the Ladies Home Journal. Some of them are stunningly prescient, others are directionally correct (ie if you take them as analogies) while others are clearly increments of the current/emerging technology.

It’s interesting to reflect upon how our future visions are constrained by the technologies that seem to have a following wind at the time, and therefore the difficulty of envisioning radical, non-incremental developments.

Perhaps this is why science fiction has been such a rich source of inspiration: by thinking consciously far in advance of “now” and “next” the authors can concentrate upon human needs and opportunities, free from the constraints of “how to” (just imagine that transparent aluminium has already been invented, for example!).

While innovation can certainly come from pondering needs and current capabilities, it’s worth also trying to project beyond the current planning cycles and incrementalism to a ‘future’ just to see what might emerge.

Interestingly too this is part of the agenda that my friend and collaborator Nico Macdonald is pursuing via his Innovation Agenda.

Invitation: – Innovation Forum: Walking the talk

“Walking the talk: increasing innovation in the media sector” is the title and the event has a challenge to media industry folk:

Is the media industry innovative, and how can we increase innovation in media? While innovation is extensively discussed in the media, media innovation today increasingly comes from outside the industry.

Come to the event and participate in the debate.

This is the latest in the Innovation Forum series, programmed by Nico Macdonald (with whom I’m working on the Future Media Summit activities).

Registration is open.

More information on the Innovation Forum programme at the website.

EVENT: Innovation Forum: Soapboxes in cyberspace: how can the media facilitate debate online?

Innovation Forum: Soapboxes in cyberspace: how can the media facilitate debate online?

I’m pleased to be able to announce the second Innovation Forum event, being organised by Nico Macdonald with some small input from me. Nico and I are collaborating on a Future Media Summit and these events support our research, develop debate and the roster of issues we’ll cover as well as giving us some insights into formats that can work over and above the traditional lots-of-people-in-a-hall-with-powerpoint paradigm (that’s frankly exhausting just to contemplate!).

Nico says:

The recent debate around the call for a Blogger’s Code of Conduct highlighted the growing importance of the online ‘political commons’. Historically the political commons has been shaped by political parties, civic organisations, and news and current affairs media. Increasingly people cleave to the latter for engagement, but its ability to facilitate a political commons — from the BBC’s ‘Have Your Say’ to the Guardian’s Comment is Free — is not yet proven. Is this a challenge of business models or technical constraints? Lack of understanding of users or failure to design the right kind of spaces? Or the product of broader social phenomena we have yet to understand? We are taking the debate offline — and invite you to come and contribute.

The Guardian are kindly hosting the Forum at their newsroom so I’m looking forward to that. There’s a £15 charge to cover wine etc afterwards, but I do have 3 tickets available as freebies for the needy/budget-less: give me a good reason for a freebie by email!

Once we have people registered then we’ll be soliciting questions in advance (Question Time stylee) so that we can ensure that the debate is focused, sharp and covers the role that the media can play in facilitating online debate – rather than having a general ‘jam’ about blogging and UGC (zzzzz).

Innovation Agenda: Events: Innovation Reading Circle

Really interesting ‘Innovation Reading Circle’ event last night, arranged by Nico MacDonald and kindly hosted at LBi by Lorenzo Wood.

The evening had an interesting ‘twist’ in that the author, Professor David Edgerton, joined us and gave not only an intro to the book, its genesis and the academic context but then participated in the conversations and addressed questions at the end. Part “interesting chat”, part “book club” and part “seminar”, it was a really interesting evening.

Nico will be writing a meta-review of the evening (to which I’ll be contributing my notes, so no review here for the moment!) – link to follow shortly.